September 30, 2015

Amazon Cloud Drive Photo Storage and Game Day Pecan Football Cheese Ball




Being a Mom of two young ones and a food blogger, y'all know I take a lot of pictures. My phone, my camera, my computer, my hard drives are all jam packed with pictures and videos. I am talking thousands upon thousands of files. But what happens of I lose my phone? Or my computer breaks? 

Yep. I lose it all.

Luckily, Amazon has come to my rescue- and yours too!

New Amazon Cloud Drive lets customers securely store their endless amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files. 

You can access it on your computer or tablet and they even have the Amazon Photo app!

It is easy to use and navigate and it is connected to your Amazon account. 

I love that I can set it on my phone so my photos automatically upload to Amazon Cloud and it frees up valuable space on my phone storage!


One of the things I take the most pictures and videos of this time of year are outings with my family, like our recent trip to Houston for our first NFL football game. We saw the Texans plays the Bucs and loved every minute of it! I filled my phone with minute by minute pics of my girls and hubby enjoying the game, eating the food, touring the stadium, and even tailgating beforehand. After the game, I simply transferred all the files straight to Amazon Cloud. No worries. No hassle. My photo memories are safe and sound.

Check out my Pecan Football Shaped Cheese Ball recipe below. Perfect for game day! 
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you already have access to Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos, which provides unlimited photo storage as part of your Prime membership. In addition, Prime members get 5 GB of additional storage space for videos, movies, music, and files.

Amazon recently announced two unlimited storage plans, both start with a free 3-month trial:



    • Unlimited Everything Plan ($59.99 per year—equivalent of less than $5 per month): Store an infinite number of new and existing photos, videos, files, documents, movies, and music in Cloud Drive.
    • Unlimited Photos Plan ($11.99 per year—equivalent of less than $1 per month): Similar to the Prime member benefit – non Prime members can also store an infinite number of photos in Cloud Drive without worrying about taking up space on phones, cameras, or other devices. This plan also includes 5 GB of additional storage for videos or other documents and files.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for Amazon Cloud Drive today!

Ingredients:

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened and cubed
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded Gouda Cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup mayo (I like Duke's)
2 green onions, diced
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. pimento strips
Crackers and sliced veggies for dipping

Directions:

  1. Beat first 4 ingredients (cheeses and mayo) with mixer or add to a food processor until blended. 
  2. Stir in onions and spread into a container. 
  3. Refrigerate several hours.
  4. Remove from fridge, add to a platter or plate, and form into a football shape.
  5.  Coat the cheese ball with the chopped pecans.
  6. Add pimentos for the lacing. 
  7. Serve with crackers and veggies.
You can use whatever cheese you like for this recipe. 
I shredded 2 cups of Gouda because I love Gouda on everything!
I added my pecans to a food processor until they were finely chopped.
They need to be same pieces to coat the sides of the cheeseball.
 Add all three cheeses and mayo to a food processor and blend until combined.
 Stir in onions and spread into a container.
Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. 
Remove from fridge, add to a plate, and from into a football shape.
 Coat the cheese ball with the chopped pecans.
Add pimento strips on top for the football lacing.
Serve with crackers and veggies for dipping.
The perfect appetizer for game day!
Houston is only 3 hours away from where we live and we travel there often.
But this was our first trip to a NFL game. 
I won the tickets in the Riunite Chili Cook-off!
Time for our first family trip to a professional football game!
We had great tickets in the end-zone. 
I couldn't believe how many people were in this massive stadium!
My little footballer in her Bucs jersey (I mean come on, Mama's from Florida!)
 and her souvenir football!
The girls did great! No crying and they didn't mind the noise!
Ava actually chanted "First Football Game!" the whole time! 
We almost made it to the end of the game....then Ava slept the whole drive home!

Keep your photo memories safe. 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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September 26, 2015

My Top 5 Baby Items and Ideas for New Parents

My sweet Stella Rose, who was born in April, is growing fast! She is a giggly, smiley baby and has brought so much joy to our family. But to my surprise, she is very different from her sister as a baby.
I thought I was prepared with pacifiers, a carseat, a bassinet, and swaddles and this one didn't care for any of them. Ava had to be swaddled to sleep for her first 4-5 months. She loved riding in the car. She slept in her bassinet all night long after a couple weeks and she was hooked on her paci. Stella not so much. Stella loves bathes where Ava didn't. Stella is a light sleeper. Ava wasn't. Stella moves and wiggles, Ava was the opposite again. I've said all this to make the point that every baby is different. Who knows what they may prefer until you meet them and learn their personality. I put together this Top 5 list of items I recommend for babies and I would love to hear what your kiddos liked too in the comments!



1. Minbie Bottles

Minbie bottle teats promote the all-important instinctive breastfeeding technique, so if you switch between breast and bottle, your baby’s natural breastfeeding technique can remain undamaged.To help you, we have created Minbie which is a teat designed to support your newborn’s instinctive breastfeeding technique. This means that when newborns feed from Minbie they practice the instinctive latch and feeding-action for nurturing breastfeeding. This is a significant breakthrough in matching breast and bottle-feeding techniques and preventing feeding-confusion.
I waited the standard 2 weeks after my baby was born to give her a pumped bottle, in hopes that it would not cause nipple confusion. She is exclusively breastfed but I like to pump bottles so my husband can feed her and I can have a bottle on hand when we travel. 
She took right to the Minbie bottle, even trying to hold it. She had no problems latching and drank the whole bottle in gulps! We have used our Minbie bottle numerous times since and I really enjoy the shape of the small plastic bottle and the natural shaped bottle nipple. I am happy to say my daughter is an excellent eater- whether nursing or drinking a pumped bottle! 
Thanks Mimbie for a great product! 
I received this product for review.  My opinions are my own. 

2. Ergo Carriers and Moby Wraps

Babywearing for the win! 
Since having Ava three years ago I have been a huge fan of babywearing {aka wearing your baby/child in a carrier}. I still use my two favorites from when Ava was a baby with Stella. Both are available for purchase online and at Target, Marshalls, Babies R Us, and more!

 My Moby Wrap, which I like best for colder months {since it can get hot} and when the baby is smaller, newborn to 6 months. You can wearing it many different ways and the baby is snuggly and securly wrapped up.
My Ergo Carrier is my favorite all around carrier. You can wear it on the front {baby facing in}, on the side hip. or on your back when they are toddlers. It has a hood for covering baby from the sun and it is padded, comfy, and pretty darn cute! You can buy add ons like an infant insert, pouches/bags, and suck pads. I definitely recommend it for parents looking for a reliable carrier to use for a while since it can be used up to age 4! 
Babywearing Portraits by Sweet Rose.
The family that babywears together, stays together!
 
Family babywearing pictures by Jenny Laura Photography.

3. Personalized Clothes and Hats

There is nothing more adorable than sweet little babies in custom embroidered and printed clothes!
Monograms are cute but I just love having the girls' names on their hats and clothes.
Baby Chefs Hat from Shannon's Sewing Shop.
"Stella" printed romper bought secondhand. 
"Stella" printed newborn hat from Etsy Store: PiratesandPeonies 
My little sleeping Army babe. 
Army name hat from Etsy
Portraits by Sweet Rose and Tiffany Hess.

4. The Blooming Bath

Sweet Stella's first bath was filled with coos and smiles mostly because she was comfy and cozy sitting in her Blooming Bath.
We had a regular plastic baby tub with Ava but I found this Blooming Bath for Stella and love it!
It's bendable, soft, and made of a terrycloth material. It can be thrown in the dryer after you use it and it's cute enough to use for photo ops too! 
How tiny my little one was during her first bath!
4 months old already?! The Blooming Bath is great for pictures too! 

5. Baby Crafts

We all get that nesting urge when we're preggers and I had it bad with both girls!
I tried to make the same crafts for Stella as I did for Ava and I love these special mementos that we will keep for many years! You can see more of my crafts here: Crafty Corner.
Hands down my favorite baby craft are signed baby onesies.
I iron one letters to a plain colored onesie, add some jewels or a flower to dress it up, and bring along a pack of fabric markers. I have the doctors, nurses, and our visitors sign it for the new baby. Then it gets hung up in a shadowbox in the babies room!
Shadowboxes are a easy way to display memorable items.
 I made a hospital shadowbox for each of my girls. 
I included the signed onesie, along with the baby hat and shirt from the hospital, 
their baby bracelets and an ultrasound picture or footprint. 

Some other baby products I love:

Muslin Blankets, like these from Aden and Anais, are great for swaddling, nursing, changing, you name it! I always pack a few where ever we go! 
Portable fans are a must in the summertime here! They're battery powered and they clip 
to the carseat or stroller handle. Cool that baby down!
Also pictured: portable sound machine. We use this, which places white noise rain and water sounds, all the time in the carseat, crib, and swing and Stella, just like Ava, calms right down. 
I just love, love these knit crowns
Stella outgrew hers pretty fast so I have to reorder soon {order a size or two up}.
Find them on Etsy or Instagram. 
Boppy pillows are the bomb. 
I use ours for nursing and for propping the baby on for pictures, tummy time, and sitting. 
I recommend taking with you to the hospital for when you first have the baby.
Swaddles and Sleepsacks, like this one by Summer, are a lifesaver if you have a
 wiggleworm like my baby! 
She didn't like them much as a newborn but they are working great now!
Playmats are a definite on my list too.
We have this one that has an attachable mobile and we have a small 
one that is a tummy time mat with a pillow. They are small so they are perfect for travel, they can be thrown in the wash easily, and they entertain your little one!
Life with my two girls, ages 5 months and almost 3 years, is 
fun, exhausting, and truly life changing. No matter how hard it is I love being their Mama.

This post was created in partnership with Mom Buzz Media
All opinions expressed above are my own and are not influenced in any way.
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